Too often, our ideas of what is fair can be pretty absolute, until we have to apply them to ourselves. We don't worry much about the fallout, and even take pride in being "strict but fair" - until it impacts us personally. And then our ideas of what is fair can quickly become anything but absolute.
This is the "fairness" that God is calling out in the Old Testament reading. That reading begins with an accusation, "The Lord's way is not fair!" And God returns the accusation, "Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?"
Is God just throwing the accusation back here, a classic (but pointless) way of arguing?
"You did it!"
"No, you did it!"
Not at all. God follows the throwback with a paradigm shift that is so radical it takes a parable of Jesus for us to get our heads around it. More on that parable tomorrow.